Take a minute and think about the things you truly love. Your passion for photography, for painting, for cycling, for singing, for whatever it may be. This is part of who you are, right? Part of who you were made to be. Part of what sets your soul on fire.
Imagine life with those passions stripped away.
Imagine that someone took hold of the things you love and turned them into the chains that hold you.
This is the reality faced by so many of the kids who are sold to people who take advantage of them in any way they desire. And with each day they become less and less of who they are. Less and less of who they were created to be. Their passions die. The truth of who they are becomes muddied and eventually fades away.
Our team of 11 sat in a circle after hearing stories of lost hope and lost truth and lost passions and we hurt for every girl who has been made to believe that she is no longer who she thought she was. We sat and talked and tried to come up with a goal of how much money we could raise and where it could go and as you can probably imagine, 11 different girls had a lot of different thoughts.
There were two things we knew for sure. One was that we wanted to raise $250,000 and the other is that we wanted it to allow girls to experience greater freedom. We needed to believe that we could do something big to rewrite the stories moving forward for each and every girl who walks into The Refuge. We needed to know that their truth could be redefined, that they could come to a place to figure out who they are, who they want to be, what it is that sets their souls on fire.
After a couple ideas fell through, our most knowledgeable team member Kelly threw out an idea that every single one of us immediately said yes to. A passion fund. To give every girl the opportunity to heal and grow and learn about herself, and then have the ability to put rediscovered truth into action. In Kelly’s words “Each person on our team has been able to choose her own passions, but we know many survivors never had the support or resources to do that. We want a girl who sees beauty in the world to have a camera in her hands, a girl who wants to move fast to have roller skates, and a girl who hears music to take hold of a guitar. A passion fund will help them find joy in life and claim ownership of her passions.”
No matter what the dream may be, we want to empower the girls at The Refuge to chase after the things that make them feel free.
--Isabel Mayne: Austin, TX